Hello my global cupcakes, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Finally, it’s November. I’m sure lots of people are not happy about this – “Where has the year gone?” and “My, time flies!” and “Holy crap, I need to start my Christmas shopping!”

But not me. I’m glad it’s November already.

Here in the States, 2012 has been one long season of campaigning, and I, for one, am sick of it and ready for 2013. I’m sick of the barrage of campaign ads. I’m burned out on deceits, half-truths, outright lies and bullying. I’m tired of billionaires trying to buy elections. I’m fatigued by politicians who hide behind social issues so they don’t have to fix our actual problems.

I’m exhausted by the “us versus them” mentality that has taken over our country. The lack of civility. The absolute refusal to agree to disagree or even listen to someone’s differing opinion.

My regular readers don’t come to this site to hear me rant. They come to talk about plants and Nature, to look at pretty pictures and flowers, to get a respite from the real world. And who knows what other reasons.

But today, for just this one day, we’re going to talk about the Presidential Election, and the divisive nature of the campaign.

This is my blog, my creation, my forum, and I want to talk about my take on what’s happening here in America.

I care about people, which makes me a bleeding heart liberal. And I hold the Republican party solely responsible for creating the atmosphere of divisiveness, by using social issues to agitate this country. If you don’t like it, you can stop reading.

For months, on tv, on facebook, I’ve listened to the shocking disrespect for our nation’s highest office, and I haven’t said a word. I’ve stood by while racists pretend to be angry with the President for any other reason except the color of his skin. “I’m not racist,” they insist, “I have lots of black friends. I just think this country is heading in the wrong direction.”

Riiiiiight.

Can you tell they’ve lost all credibility with me?

What I want to know is, where is our compassion? What happened to showing respect for other humans, even ones we disagree with? It doesn’t matter the color of our skin – we’re all humans, we’re all Americans. Where did our compassion go?

As our very own Expert Dottie once said to me while we were volunteering together in a Red Cross office, “Everyone deserves respect.” Smart lady, that one.

Aren’t we all in this together?

Why does the Republican party insist on taking us backwards instead of forward?

It’s 2012!

By now, don’t we all have a loved one who is gay? Or many loved ones? Why are we standing in their way to have equal rights to marry and have families? Why anyone would care what someone wants to do in the privacy of their own bedroom is beyond me. Republicans keep making this an issue by insisting we protect the sanctity of marriage. Puh-leeze – marriage used to mean that you sold your daughter for livestock. It can withstand being redefined again.

It’s 2012!

Why are women still paid less than men for doing the exact same work? And why are we still trying to deny women access to sensible family planning? Some people (Republican men) tell us that women are using abortion as birth control. Are they kidding? The decision to end a pregnancy is an enormously damaging and awful one – I’ve never met a woman who’s taken that lightly. Those same men will have you believe that rape is God’s will. I can’t think of anything more offensive.

It’s 2012!

Why are we still not valuing our teachers, police, firefighters and military personnel? These heroes should be paid twice the salaries that Wall Street bankers make. When will we prioritize education and emergency services? Republicans across the country want citizens to pay for emergency services or do without. That’s short-sighted and foolish.

It’s 2012!

And then there’s how we treat our home. The Earth. We all live here, but there are still so many who are willing and enthusiastic to deplete our natural resources without examining how we can work in harmony with Nature and preserve this beautiful planet for future generations. I don’t get those people. If Hurricane Sandy doesn’t make you pause and consider the possibility of Climate Change, then I don’t want to share this planet with you.

It’s 2012!

Can we please stop blaming the poor for everything? I’ll tell ya, it sticks in my craw when I hear old rich Republican white men talking about bootstraps and how everyone should just pull themselves up. Yes, we are in America, land of opportunity. But talking about pulling yourself up doesn’t mean much to people with no boots. People who have never even heard of bootstraps. They are the very people who need help the most, not scorn.

It’s shameful the way the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about removing the safety net we provide for our most vulnerable people. They seem to have no compassion for anyone who doesn’t earn the big bucks they do. Must be nice to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and too bad for everyone else.

It’s 2012. Can we please start acting like grownups and not a bunch of bickering children? Can we discuss our differences without it becoming a screaming match? Can we please start being kind to one another?

Come Tuesday here in America, I hope the women, the gays, the treehuggers, the young, the old, the poor, the disenfranchised (and everyone in between) unite to vote for the black guy. Because he represents hope for all of us, and he represents forward progress. The Republicans would prefer setting us back 50 years.

If nothing else, I’d love to see the millions of dollars the old rich white guys spent trying to stifle our voices go to waste. That would one small measure of justice.

Ok. Deep breath. I guess I’ve been bottling up my opinions for too long.

I’m voting with compassion at the heart of my decision. If that alienates some of my audience, I’m ok with that.

Now.

It’s time to hand the soapbox over to my esteemed Panel of Experts. First, let’s say hi to them. Hi Experts!

 

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re adorable! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

In keeping with the theme, this week, I asked my Experts this question:

Q. Everyone’s minds are on the Presidential election next week. Would you please share with us what you’d like to see in America’s future?

You know how I feel. Now let’s hear from them. Expert Andy, you’re up first, fine sir:

A. I’d like to see America’s original guiding principles and glorious Constitution restored to their original intent.  Freedom, equality and opportunity.  NO MORE TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!  Lower my God-damned taxes and stop spending $ we don’t have on things other than Americans!!!  Got that you soon to be elected goofballs?!?!?!?!

A. At the risk of sounding like one of them socialists, I’d like to see an America with a lot less wealth inequity. The country’s long-term strength depends on a strong middle class, which in turn depends on the possibility of economic advancement. With all of the capital in the hands of the few, advancement opportunities decrease for the many, and the country becomes weaker.

Intellectually, I know it’s a demographic trend, and that the country will find its’ center again when the baby boomers finally disappear off the political scene. But there are so damn many of them that the country’s politics have aged as they’ve aged, which means watching us get dragged slowly to the right over the course of the last 30 years.

I know I’m supposed to get more conservative as I get older, but having a child makes me more angrily liberal the older I get. I’d like her to at least have the chance to do better than I did.

Final pronouncement from my soapbox: in a democracy, you get the government you deserve. Vote!!

A. I’d like an America wary of easy answers and half-truths, a place where we have more conversations than shouting matches. I would hope it is angry at oppression, never loses compassion for those not blessed by life and naive enough to believe a single voice carries.

A. In my 87 years of traveling around this fascinating globe of ours, I’ve witnessed ups and downs, recessions and repressions and I’ve never found another country finer, more able to meet and cope with the challenges or ultimately more agreeable than the good old USA.  In spite of all the “ugly warts” and “hogknobs”, the USA always comes through!  When asked about the future of our country, what you see here is an eternal optimist and positive thinker.  An example I heard today:  Governor Christie and President Obama together discussed and put into action the help appropriate for the state of New Jersey to commence a speedy recovery from the devastation of “Hurricane Sandy”!  That’s a big beginning of the kind of cooperation we need to get this country back on the right track.

I saw it in action, when I have been a part of the recovery of many disasters the past 40+ years as a volunteer disaster casework supervisor with the American Red Cross—most especially in NEW YORK at “9/11”.

I spent a large part of my childhood growing up in the worst depression the country has ever known.

When the chips are down, and push comes to shove, Americans pull together and get the job done!  Check the history – We may make many goofs along the way, but we hang in there until we get it right!

I see a tough road ahead, but one the USA can travel with grit and determination and succeed.

That’s America!   The American way!  God Bless the USA!

A. Open minds, honest talk, clear eyes, true & free speech, firm stands for what is right, hard work, willingness to listen to the other side, heartfelt laughs, friendly smiles, pride in a job well done, world views, hard questions, straight forward answers, friendly pats on the back, true patriots, gays and white, blacks and reds, lesbian partner and an Episcopal preacher named Helen, Muslims and Irish, Israelis  and Baptist, sinners reformed and saints fallen, one legged ass kicker and blind polo champs, animal lovers and vegetarians, gardeners and the black thumbers , tree huggers and loggers, firemen and lobster boat drivers, veterans and veterinarian, bookkeepers and used car sealers, underwater gold diggers and cougars,  lap dancers and priest, school lunch servers and baseball coaches, couch potatoes and mountain bikers, race car mechanics and shady tree repairmen, dreamers, inventors and soothsayer, window washers and bus tire fixers, poets, singers and blackjack dealers, red neck joggers and high end waiters.

These actions and folks and the millions more who make up the backbone of this great country, an ongoing experiment in the social mix of humanity, it does not belong to any one but is owned by all. Every single one of us  is important we must never forget that.

Many have sold they souls for greed and power,  money, money, money, ME,ME,ME, mine, mine, mine. Many a public dollar has found its way unscrupulously in to a private pocket and shame be on them. But we all must share in the rape of the Earth for many of us sit in comfort while our brethren is forlorn.

Death and destruction has been visited upon many who inhabit the Eastern shores and our heart go out to them, but do not stand idly by we all can help, reach into your cookie jar for your coin saved for a rainy day, for the rainy day has come to many, give of your heart for it is the right thing to do. Sins of our past we cannot change, but we have bearing on the now.

Step up, stand up for the need is now and your goodness is overflowing, when the S#^t hits the fan and our fellow country folk cry out in need or just stoically start to pick up the pieces of their life, help.

We aren’t Democrats or Republicans we are Americans who have always face trouble and trial head on.

Give to the American Red Cross it is a most excellent organization, no matter what kind of Bullshit you hear about the Red Cross or other great organizations, there are lots of good hearted honest people that volunteer for same, I know I’ve worked alongside of many of them. If only Washington DC politicians  operated, believed and worked as hard and were as dedicated as these good people are maybe the place wouldn’t be such cesspool of morals.

Remember you are not helpless you can always give a smile and VOTE                   

A bunch of like-minded souls we are on this blog, eh? You Experts continue to amaze and delight me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, thank you for being here.

This Experts panel is continually evolving. This blog is evolving. I am evolving. From now on, I’m not going to award imaginary prizes to my wonderful Experts, because quite frankly, they don’t need my charity. They’re winning in life, and that’s enough.

That said, I can still hand out epithets from time to time. So this week, Experts, I’d like you each to use the following epithet for the weekend: The Best, Greatest, of High Moral Character, Most Amazing Expert in Life.

So for example, Lewis, if you’re at the farmers’ market this weekend and you meet someone new, you should introduce yourself as Lewis Casey The Best, Greatest, of High Moral Character, Most Amazing Expert in Life. I’m sure it’ll be the start of a lifelong friendship.

That does it for this week’s Panel of Experts.

Thank you again to everyone for being here.

The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered:

Stephanie from Indianapolis wrote, “Uggh! Oh-so sad and FAKE”

Charlie Hebert wrote, “Fake Fake Fake! (hopefully I’ll have electricity back after the hurricane to see the results of this!)”

Dave wrote, “Waaay fake! You can do better than this!”

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Doesn’t get faker than that!”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “Fake, …or Faux? I can’t decide.”

Tom from Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Fakeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “This is a fake arrangement of plants.”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Disturbingly Artificial.”

Ginny Burton, Optician to the Stars, wrote, “Those flowers are fake!”

Lauren from The Beauty Is in the Dirt wrote, “Ohhhh, fake.”

That’s 10 votes fake, zero votes real.

You guys think you’re pretty smart, don’tcha?

Well.

Let me let you in on a little secret.

Sometimes, I’m not trying to stump you.

Sometimes, I choose these puzzlers for their entertainment value.

Did I know these flowers were very obviously fake and that you’d all probably guess correctly?

Of course!

But if I didn’t ask the obvious, then how would I have been able to include this funnier, wider view?

Haha, I just love him. I love any skeleton that wears a suit and hat!

So yes, I could’ve done better by giving you a harder puzzler. But then I wouldn’t have had the skeletal comic relief today!

To me, throwing you the bone was worth it. Bone, get it? Hahahahahaha!

Anyway.

Now you have the framework for my logic. Framework, get it? Hahahahaha.

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Nobody can deny that I think I’m heeee-larious. No body, get it? Hahahahaha.

Really, I’m done.

Oh c’mon – you don’t think it’s funny? Grow a thicker skin, why don’t ya?

*Chuckles*

Help me, help me, I’m all out of eyes (and ways to say you died).

*Giggles*

What? A Train reference is one jaw over the line?

Alright, enough of this skullduggery.

*Heeheehee*

Ok, ok, ok. I can tell this routine is dead.

*Snorts*

Seriously, I think I’m spent now.

*Wipes eyes*

*Pats self on the back*

*Breathes deeply, collects self*

Stephanie! You were the first with a correct answer, and that makes you the bestest answerer. Well played! For being so speedy, you’ve earned the following title for the next week: I’m Swifty and I Know It, I Live It, Ooh, Ooh, I’m Fassssst! Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by delicious butter.

You’re all winners in my book, so for playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: A vote that counts, 13 bragging rights, one Presidential moment, an imaginary trip to the White House, four more years, macaroni, two flamingos, 17 extra credit points, cheese, a winning campaign and then some. Congrats, and thanks again for playing.

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these flowers real or fake?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, November 8th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

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